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Hi, I'm Tyler from Roundforge.com


#1

The Site:

Roundforge is a marketplace for getting custom fabrication done over the Internet. I built it because of my own difficulties getting stuff built and postulated that it could be way easier for people to have custom machining and fabrication done.

It works like this: You want a snazzy metal sign so you upload some drawings. Member shops submit quotes, you choose one. The chosen shop cuts out your sign on their CNC table and ships it to you.

I’m in sort of a pre-launch phase signing up shops and tweaking stuff.
Check out the site here: https://roundforge.com

Me:

I’m a solo founder and Django freelancer (always up for some work).

Challenges:

  • Context switching - I’m responsible for the whole stack, from deployment to front end, then I’m emailing and talking on the phone to get signups.

  • Warm and cold calling - Cold emails don’t work for me for shop signups, so I’m finding I have to write a tailored cold email then make a “warm” phone call. It’s been labor-intensive with lots of rejection.

  • Two-sided marketplace - Way before I started, I never considered how hard it would be to get just one side of the marketplace populated. It’s marketing with two totally different messages.

Good stuff:

  • I pretty routinely automate stuff and it’s a huge help. Database/media backups are cron jobs, Ansible handles server management (way simpler than Chef, love it),etc.

  • After lots of reading and trying to tune my marketing skills, I actually have shops in the process of signing up.

  • I changed my awful prior design and used copyhackers.com make a simpler landing page.

  • Stripe and EasyPost! Both make it pretty fast and easy to integrate hard stuff.

The Future:

I’m hoping to officially launch in two to three weeks with 10-ish shops signed up. I’m going to buy some ads, so I’m looking at google adwords, facebook, and some of the small diy/auto subreddits. Large forums are pretty cost-prohibitive at this point as “vendor” accounts usually cost about $300 a pop in the space I’m familiar with.


#2

Looks interesting.

As you say, getting both shops and users at the same time is hard.

Let us know how you get along.